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Unity Garden sets to grow food, health and community

SOUTH BEND, Ind. --One community is trying to plant people out of poverty. Saturday, dozens of people, including South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, attended the 5th annual Unity Garden ground-breaking ceremony.

The dripping of water marks the start of this Spring's growing season.

For Sara Stewart, it's something to celebrate. She heads up Unity Gardens, a non-profit group dedicated to growing food, health and community.

"We were reffered to as the fastest growing non-profit in the community in the county," Stewart said. "I don't know if that's true or not, but in 2008, it was just one garden and an idea."

Now, it's 57 gardens and a whole slew of ideas.

Recently, the group had a solar carport donated; the first of it's kind in Indiana. It will help them grow food year-round.

This year, they're looking forward to growing more food than ever before.

On the west side of South Bend, there's a need for fresh produce.

"If you're a walker here, it's a really cumbersome feat to get food because the closest grocery stores are a couple miles away."

In order for the community garden to work though, people have to take advantage of it.

South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg spoke about Unity Garden's ability to transform an empty plot of land into something beneficial in just 5 years.

"It's that kind of imagination, and that kind of quality that's distinctively South Bend," Buttigieg said.

He and others are excited to see what the future holds, something Stewart said is only possible through community support.

"Our biggest challenge is fundraising," Stewart said. "That seems rather trite, but being in the business of free food is difficult."

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If you'd like to donate to this group, you can do so at: www.theunitygardens.org

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